Once we are clear about the central question in strategic planning—How can we thrive?we can get to work answering it.
There are dozens of strategic planning tools that can be useful in finding answers to this question. The main ones are:

There are some other tools that are less-commonly used, but can also be very helpful in some circumstances:

  • Goal-Setting
  • Scenario Planning
  • Benchmarking
  • Product Cycle Analysis
  • Profit Pool Analysis
  • Value Web
  • Strategic Group Map

There are a few others that, although only rarely used in strategic planning exercises, can be surprisingly useful:

  • Competitor Triangle
  • Game Theory
  • Company Stage Analysis
  • Management Preferences Analysis
  • Character Study

(I’ve outlined what some of these are and how they can be used. Over the next while I’ll be outlining the rest.)

A strategic planning session is a bit like spending time in a well-equipped woodworking shop. Every workstation is built around a piece of equipment—a tool. There are more tools hanging on the walls, and even more tucked away in drawers. All of them require skill to operate. But the most important skill is knowing which tool to use when.